Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tony Stewart's excellent explanation

   Three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart wasn't always a fan of the big pack racing at Daytona and Talladega, but given the choice between that and the two-car tandem racing which has dominated those tracks the past two seasons, he prefers the former.

   Saturday night after finishing second in the Budweiser Shootout, Stewart offered a very comprehensive explanation as to why he would rather run in the packs and why Saturday night's race may have been a lot more wild than what will take place in next Sunday's Daytona 500.

   "My point is this is better than having to sit there and stare at the back of a spoiler for 500 miles and not be able to see where you're going half the race. We had control of what lane we got to run in. We got to move whenever we wanted. You didn't have to not move because you had a guy behind you that you had to rely on making your decision on what he had to do also. We had more control as drivers today," Stewart said.
    "Look at the history of this race. They always crash here. Go to Talladega, they crash cars there. It's a yard sale every time we go to a restrictor

   "It's not that bad. It's the Bud Shootout. Everybody pushes the envelope. Everybody tries to see what that limit is, what that boundary is. When it comes to Sunday, you have to race 500 miles, you have to make it last till the end. It's not that they're not conscious of the fact you have to make it to lap 75 tonight, but you have the flexibility of not worrying about points standings and not worrying about the 500 title, losing it if you make a mistake tonight.

   "The competition is so tight, you have to try things tonight. If you don't, somebody else is and they're going to learn from it whether it's right, wrong or indifferent. You had to be aggressive tonight and you had to see what you can get away with. You have to try things. It's a great opportunity for trial and error.

   "As you saw tonight, it worked out sometimes and it didn't work out a lot of times. The guys that crashed, it didn't work out, there's something they took away from it and said, That didn't work out so well. Just like last night when I crashed Kurt (Busch), that wasn't even close to what I had in mind for practice, but that's what happened. It's part of the trial and error process. You have to go through that.

"Forty-three cars can win this race a week from tomorrow. If you don't push yourself into figuring out what you can or can't do, I would rather do it with my Shootout car than I would with my 500 car."